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Growing up, I was incredibly shy. When I was 12, I was moved from private to public school and for the first time, since I was a toddler, had to make new friends. #ad While 8th grade prepared me a bit, high school was even harder since I only knew a handful of people there. I realized that in order to gain the confidence I was seriously lacking, I needed to become a part of something bigger than me. I tried out and made our high school’s dance team, the Titanaires, in 9th grade. Suddenly, that shy girl found herself. I continued to dance throughout high school and discovered the power of teamwork.  We all walked out onto that field the same, no matter how skilled we were, what we looked like or what our home life was like. We came together as a family and put on a show that always had the fans in the bleachers cheering. Being a Titanaire changed me. 20+ years later, I’m still really good friends with a number of my teammates. Now, as the Mother of three girls, I always encourage them to find something they love, practice and become a part of something that will change their lives as it did mine. Whether it’s volleyball, gymnastics, dance or soccer, I watch my girls transform each and every time they practice, perform or play. Did you know that between the ages of 12 and 13, the number of girls who say they’re afraid to fail increases by 150%? By age 14, girls drop out of sports at twice the rate of boys. That’s why @Athleta is committed to helping keep girls in the game. That’s the #PowerofShe.  #AthletaGirl #girlempowerment #girlsquad #girlsrock #womenathletes #womenempowered #womenempowerment #girlmama #girlmom #gymnastics #gymnasticslife #handstand #handstandpractice #novahighschool #novatitans #novatitanalumni #titanaire #letsgotitans

Growing up, I was incredibly...

Yesterday, I posted my deepest, darkest secret on my blog. It look me 24 hours to get the nerve to share it on here. I’ve been writing that post for a while. It probably didn’t go live the day I intended it to and it might disappear at some point. But enough is enough. Time for me to put my big girl panties on and stop lying to myself and everyone else. I hope you won’t think any different of me or judge me in any way. I’m still the same person, I’m just not pretending anymore. .
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Yesterday, I posted my deepest,...

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#ad Falynn has a very short list when it comes to her favorite snacks. You might be surprised what's at the very top of that list. #ad It's not cookies. It's not chips. It's actually tomatoes! And her absolute favorite tomatoes, are Cherubs® by @NSTomatoes. Whether I fill a snack baggie up with them or create little cars out of them, with carrots and cucumbers and a toothpick, she can't get enough. They are Bright. Juicy. Irresistible. NatureSweet Tomatoes are giving their followers a chance to win weekly #NatureSweetSnackHack prizes ($150 weekly Middle School Snack Hack Prize Pack) and the Grand Prize, a #SnackHack Survival Kit which includes a year’s supply of NatureSweet tomatoes, a backpack, electronic tablet/computer to save all your snack hack ideas, and other great gifts to make on-the-go snacking easy! Hurry and enter! The sweepstakes ends September 23, 2019. https://izea.it/amKBCzG

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How would you like to win FREE glasses for your entire family?* #sponsored We recently went to our local For Eyes for our annual vision exams and had the best experience. Dr. Hanna and the opticians really made us feel comfortable and at home, especially Falynn, who had never had an eye exam before. They helped us to find our new prescription and choose the frames that looked best on us. We also sat down with Dr. Hanna to learn more about the importance of annual eye exams and the dangers of blue light. Stay tuned for our IGTV interview later this week! Also, swipe to see the first photo that Falynn ever took by herself, with my camera. Great, right?  We’ve partnered with For Eyes to give you the opportunity to win up to 6 FREE eyeglasses or prescription sunglasses valued at up to $250 each. 
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#ad Let’s get real for a moment. While they play a large part in us becoming Mothers, periods are no fun. They also weren’t something that I knew a whole lot about up until a couple of months ago, if I’m being honest. But results from a recent survey got my attention.  3 in 5 women surveyed reported at least one symptom of heavy periods – and among those respondents, over half had not discussed them with a doctor (57%) Why? Most women have resigned to heavy periods as their reality, with 43% saying “it’s just normal for me” and 36% saying “I’ve just learned to live with it.” Sound familiar? I must have said those exact statements plenty of times over the last 30 years. 
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In just about a month...

Thinking back to last month and our stay in that cute little airbnb, it makes me so grateful for the opportunity to blog full-time. Not only do I get to work closely with companies that I love, but occasionally I get the opportunity to take our family on a little, but much needed vacation. It really is the best job I’ve ever had. Today on the blog, I’m continuing my series for bloggers and influencers and discussing what might be the scariest part of this job… pitching companies and applying to campaigns. Head over and check out my suggestions to nail those pitches. I look forward to hearing your thoughts! .
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Thinking back to last month...

Coming Together To Help One of Our Own

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Today I found out that one of my favorite rep’s @adventures_of_lennon_blue_ and her family have been going through something absolutely devastating. I’m not sure how I missed the original post, but three weeks ago, Ash posted the following on Instagram:

“…I’ve always considered myself a fairly strong woman. No matter what life has dealt me, I’ve trained my mind to deal with it, with the least amount of scarring possible, and to never let it make me bitter. Life has had a way of making me question a lot of things. From going through a divorce fit for a movie on the Lifetime channel, before I even turned 20. To watching my hero, my grandma, lose her battle with dementia, this summer. (and in between those years, sprinkle in being molested, finding out my eldest son was being abused, and having to pack up and move to a gated area with security officers, my ex-fiancé committing suicide, causing me to fear falling asleep, because of the nightmares of me trying to take his gun the day before he shot himself, leading to years of addiction, depression, anxiety, and a lot of self harming, because I gave up on my worth) But, I always pulled through, until recently. Once I had Lenny I went from working full-time, to never leaving my house. The longer I stayed home, the more introverted, and socially awkward I became. It got to the point where I’d cry and break out in hives, if I had to leave. I went from a social butterfly to a hermit. It wasn’t until a few weeks ago we found out our house was full of black mold from a leak in our crawlspace, and I had severe black mold poisoning, and was forced to leave my safe haven. A few days ago my sickness got worse and the stiffness in my neck became so unbearable, I lost my mind. My high pain tolerance is no match for whatever is going on inside me, and my daughter watched me crumble, and I will never forgive myself. So now a tiny hotel room is our home, as a lay in a bed, crying. So positive vibes would be great, as my husband and I try to keep our shit together for the kids, and keep our family happy and safe.”

I had always looked at Ash as the “cool Mom”, through her posts on Instagram. The carefree, bad ass, says what’s on her mind Mom.  Lenny was one of our first reps for our t-shirt shop and I loved the chats that Ash and I had, as few and far between as they were.  I would regularly visit their IG page to laugh at their cute IG stories, to admire the beautiful and real photography and to watch little Lenny be one of the freest spirits I had ever come across. I never imagined that Ash was dealing with any of these things and that she and I actually were more alike then I could have ever imagined.  Although I haven’t shared with most of the brand rep community, I too suffer from anxiety that keeps me from leaving my home.  In that moment, reading her post, relating to way too much of it, I froze. Tears filled my eyes and I realized that this could’ve been my family.  This could’ve been me.  And I felt compelled to read on…

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 4.02.54 PM
Photo by @adventures_of_lennon_blue_

 

A strong marriage rarely has two strong people at the same time… For years I’ve battled with depression & anxiety, but this winter it got extremely worse, & weird things started to happen. Last summer I noticed a few white dots on my back, and assumed it was from tanning. The spots now cover my entire back and shoulders. I went 35 years of my life, without one yeast infection, or uti and suddenly I was a poster child for both. Except every urine sample I took came back negative, but still received meds, because of the extreme amounts of bacteria in my pee. (TMI, I know) My sinusitis was so bad, I couldn’t take it, along with chronic migraines. My hands swelled so badly, by bedtime I couldn’t bend my fingers. My teeth started shifting and hurting, and my hair began falling out, & bruises appeared. My vision was blurry, & my naval cavities were so dry, I’d put coconut oil on a Q-tip, just to be able to blow my nose. Every day, it was something new. I was losing it. 1st week of Feb my husband started putting a new roof on, because our porch collapsed. The more he worked, the sicker I got. I couldn’t even bend my neck. Pj noticed mold, and called a specialist. They told us to leave for a few days, while they treated it. What we thought was a small amount, turned into an insane amount of toxic mold, and they couldn’t believe we all weren’t dead. Yesterday we got the news that we not only lost our home, but pretty much everything inside, because of all the mold spores. I wept as I thought about every piece of artwork my kids had made, hanging in the house. For over a week, we’ve stayed in everything from a shed, to a car. 15 years of memories gone, as we get handed a $10k check, to start completely over. If it wasn’t for Pj, I’d have already jumped into the river. He is my better half in pink Dollar Store pants we now share. I know that even though we both are breaking, our love is now, unbreakable.”

You have to love her honesty.  Ash is someone that is going through something so scary and yet, she can somehow write down her feelings in a way that we could all relate to.  Toxic mold is not something that targets a certain class of people.  This is not something that anyone brings on themselves. This is a situation that could happen to any of us, young or old, rich or poor.  It’s a situation that most people want to avoid, but may not be able to because they didn’t even know it was happening.  This devastating experience should hopefully make you appreciate everything you have just a little bit more.  It should make you think about doing something to help this beautiful family that doesn’t deserve any of this.  Whether it be sending them some clothing, donating to their GOFUNDME page, donating to the auction that has been set up for them, or bidding on items in the auction.  Even words of encouragement or prayers will mean the world to this family.  Anything you can give is better than nothing.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 4.09.33 PM
Photo by @adventures_of_lennon_blue_

 

Every day I see my husband and I losing it more and more. Lenny has been the strongest one of us all, and has not once complained about not being able to play with any of her toys, or drink chocolate milk out of the same purple sippy cup she’s had for years. Yesterday, I realized that Lenny hasn’t had any toys to play with for over 12 days, and not once has she bitched. She has not been able to pet her cat she’s had for almost a year, once, and yet she keeps smiling. She has not been able to watch one of her favorite fucking cartoons on Netflix once, yet not one peep about it. This little girl has turned a rock into her new cellphone. During supper, I asked everyone to say the one thing we missed the most about home, instead of our usual, “Best part of your day, worst part of your day.” Lenny always demands to go last. One by one we started spewing out all the little things we took for granted… like Sayge’s laptop, Blake being able to go to his room, and play music as loud as he wanted. Pj being able to wake up and find his clothes, vs. going through a plethora of bags, just to find a fucking sock, and me, being able to pour a big ass cup of coffee, and make breakfast for the kids, and then do the dishes. (ps. Who the fuck misses doing dishes) When it got to Lenny’s turn she paused for a moment, and said, “I miss mommy not crying all the time, and daddy not yelling, and being angry. I lost it. What am I doing to my precious baby girl!?! How is she so unselfish, and extraordinary, as we bitch about materialistic things!?! Talk about as all sitting their feeling like a big pile of dog ? and unworthy. I don’t think I’ve ever squeezed her so tightly, in all of my life, as I rocked her. I prayed to God, I wasn’t ruining her by how we have handled losing everything. Today, yet again, this little girl taught us all something, and I am mindblown out how I got this lucky to be her mother. She literally makes me want to be a better person. I am forever blessed by her outlook on life.”

At this point I brought my daughters in the room and shared the story with them.  My oldest immediately wanted to help.  She said she couldn’t imagine leaving all of her things behind. I have tried to raise my girls in a way that they are always willing to help those in need. I try to explain that this could be us and that even though we aren’t rich by any means, we should always lend a hand and make people’s lives better, easier and bring a smile to their faces, especially when they need it the most.

Screen Shot 2017-03-22 at 4.18.56 PM
Photo by @adventures_of_lennon_blue_

Tonight after Lenny went to sleep, Pj told me that she asked him earlier today, if it was hard being a parent when bad things keep happening. It broke my heart. I’ve been trying so hard to do better at keeping my cool, and not crying. Even last night, when the engine blew in my car, Pj and I just looked at each other, and laughed. Because, seriously, what else is there to do?… Regardless of what is happening to us financially, physically, or emotionally, it isn’t our kids problem. The main goal as a parent is to raise happy, healthy children, who don’t have to recover from their childhood, and I fear I’m failing at that. That to me, is far more worse, than losing a house, or car. So tomorrow I will try harder, because honestly, that’s all we really can do as adults. I will not fail them anymore. Pinky promise.”

The more I read, the more I wish we lived closer to them. I wish I could reach out and hug them all. I wish I could open up my home to them.  I wish I could do more.  While we donated shop credits to the auction, it just doesn’t seem like enough.  When I got permission to share their story, I knew that I had to do it and I thank you for taking the time to read it.

“I don’t have the words, nor the strength, to explain in great detail what’s happened to us in the past 12 hours, but I do know, that I am officially numb. Last night my husband and I had to bag up everything we have put into this new rental home, and start from square one. Toxic mold is no joke, and you have to be extremely careful checking every single item that enters, and making sure you take your shoes off, incase it’s on the bottom of your soles, etc… The bed of [Pj’s] truck along with his tools in the back, apparently weren’t cleaned properly, and we are back to where we started. (it’s no one’s fault but ours, because this is an overwhelming nightmare, and it didn’t even cross our minds) When we had to leave our home, with just the clothes we were wearing, Lennon had her fox, that she’s carried since birth, that has been her security blanket since day one, and it never occurred to me that it was toxic. (along with the box, containing my mammy’s ashes, and Chloe’s collar) So, not only are we having to tell my daughter that her beloved Mr. Fox is gone, but that when we brought Gilly back yesterday, he contaminated the entire house. This isn’t a sob story, for pitty, this is me shoving my pride aside, and needing help, while I try to get my family healthy again. I can’t be on my phone today, because that takes minutes away from focusing on what I need to do, to try and salvage things, along with disinfecting our house. So if any of my friends could please message, @chikai_plus_two  she is taking over trying to answer everyone who needs info about addresses, ect… because I’m too overwhelmed at the moment, and it’s too much. Thank you so much to everyone who has helped, it means the world to me, but right now I need all the prayers I can get, because I believe in him, and he believes in me, and that I can do this. ?”

I hope that if you’re reading this, it affected you just as much as it affected me. I’m hoping that you can help this beautiful family in some way. And if you are unable to help financially, then share.

Share the auction page @auction_for_lennon_blue/.

Share the GOFUNDME page.

Share, share, share!  I don’t want you flood her inbox with messages but words of encouragement are free and I’m sure incredibly needed.  Pray for them.  A lot.  Please remember that we are all family, regardless of blood.  When someone in our Small Shop Community is in pain, it affects us all.  Let’s shower this family with love and help get them through this rough time. Together, we can do anything.

XOXO
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2 Comments
  • mrcocojames
    March 22, 2017

    How heart-breaking. Thank you for spreading the word. Just followed the auction page.

    • Ashley Coffman
      March 22, 2017

      Today was the worst day of this nightmare thus far, and I prayed for God to give me a sign to keep going. I haven’t been on social media much, because I mentally checked out of life. I hopped on just now while hiding in my utility room/bedroom floor, and saw your tag. I read your words and admired this person you spoke of, because that’s the old me I miss. Your blog was my sign I needed. I love you, and thank you . Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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